MONTVILLE, NJ - Dr. Matthew Kayne was unanimously re-elected for his second term of office as president of the Montville Township Board of Education (MTBOE) on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Those who know him know that he is a man dedicated to his family, occupation, and community.
In the interview, Dr. Kayne described how at a young age, he learned from his family the importance of giving the best of himself to others, and this is exactly how he lives his life.
He admits that he began attending MTBOE meetings to support his two sons, who were high school representatives to the Board, but he said, “I got involved because I wanted to give back to the district because of the excellent education my children were receiving.”
Other life experiences led him into involvement in education. He explained that for a few years, he was on the board for the Literacy Volunteers of America in Passaic County and was an early board member for the Montville Education Foundation.
Dr. Kayne also has had some special, lifelong friendships related to education, including his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teachers with whom he still keeps in touch. He also stated that he had a close childhood friend and role model who ultimately became the principal of Clifton High School for over 25 years. “Through these experiences and relationships, I have always felt very close to education,” Dr. Kayne stated.
He grew up in Passaic, and later moved to Clifton. Dr. Kayne attended high school at Newark Academy in Livingston where he studied and played on the varsity golf team. He went on to Union College in Schenectady, NY and went to dental school at the University of Pennsylvania.
His dental practice, Clifton Dental Associates, in partnership with Dr. Kayne’s dental school roommate and closest friend Dr. Steven Tuckman, who also is a Montville Township resident, was founded by Dr. Kayne’s father, Dr. Edward B. Kayne, and his partner Dr. Robert A. Sussman. The family oriented, implant, and cosmetic dental practice has been a staple of the Passaic-Clifton area community for over 60 years.
When describing how he met his wife Lori, he explained that they met on a blind date in Philadelphia when he was in dental school. He said that they both knew from the moment they met that they were meant for each other. It must be true because they have been happily married for thirty years.
After the wedding, they lived in Montclair, and on weekends, they would take leisurely rides to see other towns. One ride led them to Lake Valhalla, and they immediately knew this lake community was where they wanted to live. They had been searching for a community with an excellent school system, more open space, and lower taxes. They moved to Montville in 1994.
Dr. Kayne said, “We were very fortunate to have found this special place for our family.” He remembers that when they moved to Montville Township, the neighborhood was full of young families with young children like their own.
Dr. Kayne said that family and friends shared their community and the lake. The children went to school together, and everyone experienced a strong sense of camaraderie. He explained that the township has grown since his early days, and he said, “Deep down it still is the same town.”
Dr. Kayne has three children who all attended the Montville Township school system
His wife Lori has her master’s degree in social work. She is working as a geriatric social worker with an elder care attorney in Bloomfield, providing comprehensive planning for seniors and their families. Dr. Kayne describes his wife as a “sweet, wonderful, caring person, and a great mom.”
When describing the accomplishments of the MTBOE, he stated, “Probably the most important job of the Board of Education is the selection of the superintendent of schools. I am proud to have been on a Board that had the wisdom and perseverance to establish a search process that was beyond anything that had previously been done in our town, which ultimately led to the selection of Dr. Paul Fried and Dr. Rene Rovtar, two outstanding superintendents.
"Dr. Fried changed the culture of the district and taught all of us some important and necessary lessons. His impact will be felt for many years to come.
"Dr. Rovtar has picked up where he left off and, in my opinion, is just hitting her stride. She is a true academic leader with vast experience and is using her abilities to move this district in a positive direction. I truly feel blessed to have been able to work so closely with these two remarkable individuals.”
Dr. Kayne continued to say, “A decade ago, our school district was known, amongst New Jersey educators, as a ‘revolving door’ for superintendents and administrators. Over these subsequent years, we have reestablished stability, trust and respect, in part, through more professional, collaborative behavior from the Board making sure not to micromanage, but to allow the professionals to do their jobs. I would like to believe we have enhanced relationships with our teaching professionals, all district employees, and the community.
"The school district has a number of new and innovative programs like the humanities and science research programs,and there have been numerous, strategic improvements to the facilities, such as the new high school media center, a New Jersey grant-assisted ‘green initiative,’ which involved replacement of old electrical fixtures, adding solar panels where possible, and other enhancements to reduce energy costs, upgrades to a number of athletic facilities, and the building of the new school Board Office on River Road.”
“The new Board office,” Dr. Kayne stated, “allowed us to reduce rental costs year after year while providing a new home for the central office administration and other district employees. We have worked very hard to keep our district moving forward given the tremendous loss of over $14-15 million of state aid since 2010 and a hard cap of 2%."
Dr. Kayne, who has been on the Board since 2009, said that this financial shortfall has made it “a great challenge to make ends meet while ensuring high quality programs.”
Dr. Kayne spoke about OneMontville and explained how Dr. Rovtar took the lead in developing this now, stand-alone community organization, which supports acceptance among all people in town. He said, “The outcome has been quite positive and will continue to help relationships in Montville Township for years to come.”
The township will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and Dr. Kayne said that the MTBOE has representatives working with the anniversary committee to help with the planning of events for this commemorative year.
When asked about the future of Montville Township, Dr. Kayne mentioned the recent demographic study. He said that the study shows that there is a slight decrease in the amount of people moving into the township and the student population, but he said, “Montville is always going to be sought after because of its location and excellent schools.”
Dr. Karen Cortellino, member of the MTBOE and former president of the Board, had these kind words to say about Dr. Kayne, “Matt is a thoughtful and kind individual who understands what it takes to be an effective Board member. On a personal level, Matt served as vice president during my six years as Board president. In that role, Matt became a loyal friend and confidante. I value his service on the Board and his friendship."
When asked the question what is one thing most people do not know about you, he said, “What people probably do not know about me is that my sons, who are now in their 20’s, and I are avid Grateful Dead fans. We traveled to Chicago in July, 2015 and saw two of their last three and 50th anniversary reunion concerts. My sons and I have traveled to a number of prior concerts, and we continue to attend and sometimes travel long distances to enjoy their successor Dead and Company. It is all about enjoying each other while we enjoy something together.”
Dr. Kayne has taken his family’s life lesson on giving back to his community seriously, and he always gives the best of himself, and it shows in his dedication to his family, work, and community.